Support poured in for the striking pilots’ union on Saturday with the Air Line Pilots’ Association (ALPA), India, an umbrella body comprising pilots from Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines issuing a note of support for ICPA, the pilots’ union of Air India that is protesting.
Around 2,000 pilots from ALPA will wear black bands to protest against the AI management’s stand. “As it is International Labour Day on Sunday, the gesture condemns labour problems faced by the pilot community,” said an ALPA, India, spokesperson.
At least 135 of 165 domestic flights were withdrawn by the national carrier on Day 4 of the strike as the required number of pilots were not available for duty, airline officials said.
Meanwhile, ICPA, on Saturday, accused the management of approaching private airlines to sabotage the protest.
“The airline chairman had once asked us to operate flights for Paramount Airways, a now defunct Chennai-based airline, which we flatly refused. Now, again we have heard of certain moves by them to benefit other private airlines,” said captain Rishabh Kapur, general secretary, ICPA.
AI said it had deployed some wide-bodied aircraft from its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express’s fleet to ease passenger woes.
Air India Express operated 76 flights against its 66 flights thereby enabling additional flight operation of 10 flights to clear the backlog of passengers. Similarly, Alliance Air, another subsidiary of AI also operated two extra flights.
Additional flights were operated on Mumbai-Abu Dhabi, Chennai-Singapore, Kochi-Kozhikode-Sharjah, Kozhikode-Dubai and Mumbai-Delhi routes.